Does the RNC Have Launch Codes?

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According to House Democrats, the White House is stonewalling on offering up e-mails sent on the RNC's servers for the U.S. Attorneys investigation.

White House Counsel Fred Fielding, in a letter today, told Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, that the White House has not budged in its refusal to allow the panels to question several White House aides, including Karl Rove, about what they know regarding the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys, moving the two sides closer to a constitutional battle over the scandal.

"As I stated in my earlier letter to the Republican National Committee today, the Judiciary Committee intends to obtain the relevant emails directly from the RNC," Conyers said in reaction to the Fielding letter. "The White House position seems to be that executive privilege not only applies in the Oval Office, but to the RNC as well. There is absolutely no basis in law or fact for such a claim."

By the way, executive privilege doesn't extend to circumstances like this. From U.S. v. Nixon (1974):

Neither the doctrine of separation of powers nor the generalized need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances. See, e. g., Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177; Baker v. Carr. Absent a claim of need to protect military, diplomatic, or sensitive national security secrets, the confidentiality of Presidential communications is not significantly diminished by producing material for a criminal trial under the protected conditions of in camera inspection, and any absolute executive privilege under Art. II of the Constitution would plainly conflict with the function of the courts under the Constitution.

Did Rove ever deal with national security over his RNC e-mail account? Seriously? It'd be nice for some Bushie lawyer to stop combing 19th century law for justifications to draw and quarter Democrats and tackle this more pressing issue.

NEXT: Once in a Red Moon

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  1. the confidentiality of Presidential communications is not significantly diminished by producing material for a criminal trial under the protected conditions of in camera inspection

    Congressional hearings != criminal trial

  2. Nope, Boston is still standing.

  3. joe | April 13, 2007, 11:52am | #
    Nope, Boston is still standing.

    Judging from their past record, they’d aim for Boston and hit Ontario.

  4. Nah, hitting Ontario wouldn’t do America nearly enough damage.

  5. I can’t believe the RNC is that stupid.

    Watch this Video.

  6. From where I’m sitting, the national committees of both parties seem positively wacko. I remember Terry McAuliffe saying things that I thought might be appropriate if he were batshit insane, for instance.

    I’m not sure what it is, but I think living and breathing politics to the incredible degree necessary to work on a national committee makes people into Stepford politicos.

  7. You have to admit though, the Bush administration is excellent at giving their base ignorant comments/arguments to use in conversation with their friends about how the Democrats are overstepping the division of powers, and executive privilege, and playing partisan politics instead of being interested in the truth. What a load of bull, but they’re very good at infusing this bull into the minds of their constituents.

  8. Yeah, when we went through my late grandfather’s papers, I saw some real lulus from the RNC. If I’m not mistaken, they were quite clear that Satan is, in fact, a Democrat. And a union man.

  9. Ummm… did anyone ever subpoena DNC emails?

    What crime would any evidence prove anyway? Bush is allowed to fire U.S. Attorneys for any reason he wants.

    This is clearly a fishing expedition.

    But the Dems are doing a great job of convinving their constituents that Bush is evil and should be investigated until someone finds SOMETHING. Hey, if dozens of national security secrets appear in the NYT that’s no crime, but if Lewis Libby misremembers a conversation about a CIA desk jockey who outed herself by letting her husband blab all over TV and newspapers about a trip she sent him on, well put Libby in jail.

  10. The solution is clear- keep firing US DAs in increments of eight until Reid dies of outrage.

  11. “What crime would any evidence prove anyway? Bush is allowed to fire U.S. Attorneys for any reason he wants.”

    Bush has the same discretion in his hirings and firings in U.S. Attorneys’ offices that Duke Cunningham had in voting for or against military acquisitions – that is, compete discretion to make his decisions as he sees fit, WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF THE LAW.

    The fafct that an officeholder is given discretion in the performance duties does not mean that the use of that discretion is legal, regadless of how he uses it.

  12. If the RNC had launch codes they’d aim for San Francisco and hit Mississippi, and then explain that it isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

  13. joe,

    OK, I suppose one could argue someone was fired in order to end an investigation. But we already that’s a dry well. That leaves… what? I mean, political reasons don’t create a crime. Are we supposing personal corruption?

    Hmm, maybe Bush was having 8 affairs with their interns.

  14. At which point this scandal will be renamed “Octopussygate.”

  15. OK, I suppose one could argue someone was fired in order to end an investigation. But we already that’s a dry well.

    Assuming you forgot to type the word “know” between already and that’s, I can only ask: We do?

    I mean, I know YOU think it’s a dry well, but your a Bush-licker. The rest of us aren’t quite as convinced.

  16. your

    Make that “you’re”.

  17. I think TallDave is an excellent example of my previous point…

    If the RNC had launch codes they’d aim for San Francisco and hit Mississippi, and then explain that it isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

    too true Thoreau

  18. Richtig, Reinmoose. Richtig.

    (haven’t been playing opposite day. can’t figure it here. Bizarro people have been around today.)

    (present company included, of course)

  19. If the RNC had launch codes they’d aim for San Francisco and hit Mississippi, and then explain that it isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

    Or find a bad videotape of someone who looks remotely like Osama taking responsibility.

    Or treat it like they did that attack with the US army anthrax in ’01. They almost got Tom Daschle and Dan Rather with that one. Instead they got some little old ladies.

  20. “But we already that’s a dry well.”

    None of the verbs that make that sentence correct produce an argument against issuing subpoenas.

  21. They’d probably hire some AEI interns to supervise the cleanup of Mississippi, and provide them with equipment sold by the highest bidder (or at least the highest campaign contributor).

  22. Dr. T, Joe:

    TCS has a nonpartisan article on it.

  23. “Absent a claim of need to protect military, diplomatic, or sensitive national security secrets, the confidentiality of Presidential communications is not significantly diminished….”

    You still don’t get it? EVERYTHING is a sensitive national security secret. Therefor, no word, uttered or written, may be released for perusal by the enem- er, Democratical Congress.

  24. And then they’d complain that it wasn’t their fault even though it happened on their watch because “nobody could have anticipated that Osama Bin Laden would have attacked Mississippi” and criticize those who criticized them for supplying those interns serving our country with equipment from the highest bidder/campaign contributor because they were damaging the morale of our best and brightest.

  25. this is exactly the sort of useless gridlock that libertarians for split government prayed for last november. kudos to all our fine washington pols!

  26. TallDave –

    Both Gonzales and McNulty have already admitted that they provided testimony to Congress that was false.

    They might have been mistaken, or they might have lied. Either way, Congress is now entitled to investigate the matter fully.

    In the course of investigating whether they were lied to, and whether there was a conspiracy to provide them with false testimony, it appears that they have uncovered potential violations of the Presidential Records Act. To investigate THAT, it looks like they’ll need to be allowed to see every email handled by the RNC mail server, ever.

    I wonder if that material will open up even more fruitful areas of inquiry?

  27. Now they’ve lost the emails. From their computers, from the server, from the backups – poof! Bye bye!

    Maybe we should ask the NSA.

  28. Richtig, Reinmoose. Richtig.

    (haven’t been playing opposite day. can’t figure it here. Bizarro people have been around today.)

    I think the opposite would be “Links, Rienllama, Links”

    But yeah, Dia de los oppositivos was stretching my brain in ways that probably weren’t healthy, so I gave up.

  29. Using outside e-mail address, another breach of the law.

    Seriously, how can there be any more Bush apologists? Do you not care how your country is run? Frankly, the argument that democrats would be worse is a bullshit diversion, but assuming that you think that, shouldn’t you be calling for Bush/Cheney to resign and appoint a republican successor? I think the last 6 years have shown unequivocally that the CEO president cannot run this country successfully.

  30. Breakfast provider:

    llama!!!!!!!!!

  31. how can you people even concentrate on this right now?

    What about NAPPYGATE???

  32. Let me weigh in here.

    I’m no big fan of Bush but I agree with TallDave on this one. This was clearly started as a fishing expedition to see if the Dems could drum up some political dirt surrounding an out of the ordinary firing of some DAs. I bet it ends up being a purely political issue; if/when we find out why those DAs were fired I bet it ends up for for political reasons but ones that are potentially damaging for the White House.

    I don’t know why you cited that case Mr. Weigel, is this a criminal trial now?

    And by the way, great argument from intimidation Reinmoose. Way to immediately frame the debate so that anyone who disagreed with you was a Republican stooge.

  33. Look, I don’t have any party loyalty. You’re right, it was an unfair framing of a debate that is routinely used by Democrats and Republicans alike. Funny how that works for national campaigns to get backing by party loyalists (*ahem), but doesn’t fly in civilized conversation…

    I do not hide my contempt for the parties, and on this particular issue I don’t care WHO is prosecuting the Bush administration, but it’s time they didn’t get away with SOMETHING. I’d like to see whatever corruption that exists in all facets of government exposed, even if it takes some creative lawyering. If it were the Reps prosecuting Dems for the same thing, they’d be using the lame argument of “so if there’s nothing to hide, why are you hiding things from us?” Honestly, to defend either party is a waste of breath, because they already have your money (directly or indirectly) to take care of themselves.

    Way to immediately frame the debate so that anyone who disagreed with you was a Republican stooge.

    I said:

    “the Bush administration is excellent at giving their base ignorant comments/arguments … about how the Democrats are overstepping the division of powers, and executive privilege, and playing partisan politics instead of being interested in the truth.”

    Are these not all things that the Bush administration has given to the Republican base? And are those not arguments used by people in conversations such as this one? All I did was call them “ignorant” comments, right? And have you ever known the Bush admin to come out truthfully with any information? His points are largely irrelevant as to whether or not his admin fired the DAs for political cause…

    I get what you’re saying, but the only things I’ll retract from my previous statements are

    I think TallDave is an excellent example of my previous point…

    and any other implication that EVERYONE who uses those arguments are using them only because they were fed them (willingly or unwillingly) by the Bush administration. I’m sorry, I was trying to make a point about irresponsible and irrelevant arguments by using irresponsible and irrelevant arguments. My apologies to TallDave, who is perfectly free to express his own opinion without oppression from the likes of me.

  34. I don’t get it.

    Did you eat the llama? Did it bring you breakfast?

    Did the llama cook you breakfast?

    What could that possibly mean?

  35. Hey, here’s the deal as I see it.

    The Republicans (ie the Bush admin, though one can question the extent to which said admin actually represents the Party anymore) sacked some USAs in order to bring the conduct and practices of USAs into line with Republican (see disclaimers above) Party policy.

    However objectionable this act was to the enemies of all that is good and true in America (ie the current Demagogue…err…sorry..Democratic Congress) it was well within the authority and powers of the aforesaid administration.

    Nevertheless instead of telling said demagogues…err…sorry…Democrats where to stick their “investigation” they saw fit to lie and dissemble about it.

    For that they deserve every single perjury prosecution and even impeachment they might ever get over this.

    For God’s sakes guys if you’re gonna play politics don’t play parlor tricks. These are Democrats, they’re the ones that got to rewrite the history of the Civil War.

  36. Maybe the Republicans could continue to say they “can’t find” the documents, up until the day after the statute of limitations expires, whereupon Bush’s cleaning lady can find the said documents sitting on the dining room table in their private quarters. Hard to believe the Clintons actually got away with that one completely. I don’t remember the current “This administration is so corrupt” people giving a shit back then.

  37. US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

  38. it was opposite day 🙂

    somehow lunch figured that “llama” and “moose”
    are opposite.

    dunno.

    /kicks pebble

  39. Ow, my eye!

  40. I still can’t believe they haven’t had pretzels outlawed as a WMD yet!

  41. Some people in the general public seem to be under the impression that Fishing Trip isn’t spelled “oversight” here in DC.

    Fishing Trip’s come in all kinds but break down into systemactic and “fire alarm”. Systematuc us kinda like getting your house inspected, the less you say about the rats in the walls the better it’ll look when they find out there are termites in the foundation. Fire Alarm is sorta like having your house catch on fire and the fire marshal stumbles upon your backyard Pot farm while looking for a place to take a leak…

    Either way they rarely start the process knowing what they will ultimately find.

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